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Hotelier of The Year: Andre Balazs Brought 'SexyBack'

December 31, 2009 at 1:23 PM | by | ()

It's what you've been waiting all year for--The 2009 HotelChatter Awards! We'll be bringing you the best and worst of the year (and the decade) all day today and part of tomorrow. Agree or disagree with our picks? Air your thoughts in comments below.

This year, we spent a lot of one-on-one time with hoteliers in our Pitch Your Hotel series. And we fully intend to traipse the world again filming these hoteliers, general managers and other executives in 2010.

But there's one hotelier we met who, even though we didn't get him on camera, that tops the rest-- Andre Balazs.

It was a rainy day early this June and we were stalking the Standard NYC's Standard Grill restaurant when we noticed AB himself walking around outside. So after some more stalking and some phone calls, we were able to get a first-hand tour of the restaurant from AB, who told us all about his visions for both the restaurant and the hotel.

Now, we know what you might be thinking--that we only picked Andre Balazs because he's so good-looking or something silly and superficial like that. But you see, 2009 was a big year for AB.

And that's to do with the success of the Standard NYC, which exceeded all of our expectations. We're still not crazy in love with the design (even though Curbed says it's the best building of the Aughts) but the simple rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows offering stellar views of the city.

Rounding out the amenities are The Standard Grill; the top floor's exclusive nightclub, The Boom Boom Room; the man candy that opens the doors for you; the sexy voyeuristic guests and their faithful peeping toms below; peek-a-boo bathrooms; and free WiFi, something AB has been very good about offering in his hotels.

We waited so long for this hotel to open and Andre made it count. From Day 1, The Standard NYC has been unapologetically over-the-top sexy (remember the soft-opening ads?) It's also been hoity-toity exclusive (even hotel guests can't get into the Boom Boom Room after 9pm.)

Our initial reaction to the rooms was lukewarm but Andre's brought back the provocative experience of staying in a hotel--a sexy, delicious, luxurious, somewhat sinful type of feeling. That's a feeling that's been lost as of late as hotels try to settle for more home-y furnishings and amenities. So yes, you can say that Andre brought SexyBack to hotels.

Now, we're not sure what's next for Andre Balazs. After he dropped Hotel QT in 2008, he also shed The Raleigh from his AB Hotels collection in September (which made us sad.) But there are rumors that he will be taking the Standard brand to London and Costa Rica next. We wait with bated breath.

[Photo: Andre as a centerfold for Arkitip Magazine]

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